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7 Whilst this kind of disease involves the region of the neck as a whole, another equally fatal and acute has its seat in the throat. We call it angina; the Greeks have names according to its species. For sometimes no redness or swelling is apparent, but the skin is dry, the breath drawn with difficulty, the limbs relaxed; this they call synanche. Sometimes the tongue and throat are red and swollen, the voice becomes indistinct, the eyes are deviated, the face is pallid, there is hiccough; that they call cynanche: the signs in common are, that the patient cannot swallow food nor drink, and his breathing is obstructed. It is a slighter case when there is merely redness and swelling, not followed by the other symptoms; this they call parasynanche. Whichever form occurs blood must be let if strength permits; if there is no surplus strength, then move the bowels by a clyster. Cups also may be applied with benefit under the chin, also outside the throat, so as to draw out the matter which is suffocating.[p. 383] Next, moist foments are needed, for dry ones hinder the breath. Consequently sponges, dipped into hot oil at intervals, should be put on; that is better than hot water; but most efficacious here too is hot moistened salt. Moreover, it is useful: to make a decoction with hydromel of hyssop, catmint, thyme, wormwood, or even of bran, and dried figs, and to gargle with it; afterwards to smear the palate with ox-gall, or with the medicament made of mulberries. It is also appropriate for a cough to dust the palate with pounded pepper. If there is little effect from these remedies, the last resource is to make sufficiently deep incisions into the upper part of the neck under the lower jaw, or into the palate in front of the uvula, or into the veins under the tongue, in order that the disease may discharge through the incisions. If the patient is not benefited by all this, it must be recognized that he has been overcome by the disease. But if these measures have relieved the disease, and the throat again admits both food and breath, a return to health is easy. And sometimes nature also assists when the disease moves from a more restricted to a more widespread seat; so when redness and swelling have arisen over the praecordia, it may be recognized that the throat is becoming free. But whatever has relieved it, the patient should begin with fluids, especially with the hydromel decoction; next soft and unacrid food should be taken until the throat has returned to its original condition. I hear it commonly said that if a man eat a nestling swallow, for a whole year he is not in danger from angina; and that when the disease attacks anyone it is also beneficial to burn a nestling which has been preserved in salt and to crumble the powdered ash into[p. 385] hydromel which is administered as a draught. Since this remedy has considerable popular authority, and cannot possibly be a danger, although I have not read of it in medical authorities, yet I thought that it should be inserted here in my work.
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